2nd Annual Latino and Chicano Ceremony

The Chicana/o/x Studies program of Eastern Washington University celebrated its 2nd annual Latino and Chicano Graduation Ceremony on June 16th and we had over 80 students walk across the stage with over 320 of their family and friends attending!

The Latino and Chicano graduation was first celebrated in June of 2021, an alternative commencement to celebrate the work of EWU Latino and Chicano students from marginalized communities – an opportunity to honor shared perseverance in the face of unique obstacles. 80% of the graduates fell under the category of first-generation college students – undergraduates whose parents have not completed a 4-year degree at a college or university in the United States during their formative years.

Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 - Volunteer Table
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Lining up
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Programs
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Students Walking
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Students

Celebrating with Friends and Families!

The celebration was held at the PUB NCR and thanks to all of our volunteers, we were able to have a beautiful set up and celebration. As families, friends, and faculty filled the room, they were welcomed with suave harmonies and romping rhythms played by EWU’s very own Mariachi Las Águilas.

Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Mariachi Las Águilas

This year’s Master of Ceremonies, Brandon Velazquez ’21, opened the ceremony with a warm greeting and introduced the graduates as they marched into the NCR as the mariachi played a classic piece, “Son de la Negra.”.

As graduates took their seats, they were given words of wisdom from an EWU alumnus, Constantino Montes ’12, who graduated with his bachelor’s in Mathematics Education. Constantino has been teaching mathematics for the last ten years and is the Bilingual Educator Initiative coordinator for Pasco High School District, a program whose goal is to recruit diverse students to the field of education.

Followed by this year’s student speaker, Naydelin Olalde Hernandez, a first-generation college student who served as the president for MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán), and the resource navigator at Nuestras Raices focusing on Housing, Social Adaption, and Grassroots Grganizing. She gave a captivating speech about her journey as an immigrant pre-teen coming to the States, learning English, and navigating college.

Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Brandon Velazquez ’21
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023EWU alumnus, Constantino Montes ’12
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 student speaker, Naydelin Olalde Hernandez
Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Dean Martinez

Student Receive Their Stoles!

As the graduates lined up to receive their EWU Latino/Chicano stoles, a small detail shifted the energy in the room. Not only were the students’ names announced, but also their parent’s place of origin. Names of the Mexican States and Latin American countries echoed throughout the room as families cheered one by one, feeling their sense of pride and honor through their student’s achievements.


Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Walking on stage

Celebration Time!

Dinner, pictures, families hugging one another, and mariachi music followed the ceremony. It was a powerful scene to see many students from different backgrounds who could connect over the obstacles and barriers their parents faced to guarantee education.

This years ceremony was a huge success and we look forward to celebrating with next years graduating class!

2023 Celebration Photos


Chicanx Studies Graduation 2023 Family Photo